Monday, March 9, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – March 9, 2015!

A night-time photo of eruptions observed from the west and north of Colima volcano.

March 9, 2015 - EARTH
- The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Colima (Western Mexico): Activity remains similar as during the past week when we observed it from close - intermittent small to moderate explosions producing ash plumes of 1-2 km height. During our last overflight on Saturday, we could see that the lava dome had disappeared, likely a result of the recent explosions.

WATCH: Eruption at the Colima volcano.

Soputan (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Mount Soputan in Southeast Minahasa District, North Sulawesi erupted on Saturday at 05:09 pm Central Indonesian Time (GMT+8), shooting plumes of ash 4,500 meters to the sky, an official said.

Head of Data and Information Center of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said here, Saturday, on a broadcast statement that according to a report of the Volcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG), Mount Soputan spewed pyroclastic flow to the east side of the volcano reaching 2,500 meters from its peak.

Eruption of Soputan volcano this morning (Image: VSI).

Volcanic ash were falling to several sub-districts in Southeast Minahasa District such as Silian Raya, Touluaan, Tombatu, Pasan and Rataha.

The volcano is still in alert level III status.

"There are no people evacuated as the nearest residential area is located eight kilometers from the mounts peak," Nugroho said.

In June 2008, Mount Soputan erupted and spewed pyroclastic flow reaching a radius of 6.5km from the peak.

The authority, therefore, stated that people activities are banned in the area within 6.5km radius from the Mount Soputan peak.

Activity continues at the volcano, but has been decreasing.  Following the strong explosion on Saturday, mild lava fountaining from two vents and the effusion of a small lava flow on the western flank occurred,- signs that the eruption had been caused by a new batch of fresh magma. Seismic activity remains strong.

Fuego (Guatemala):
The volcano is in mild to moderate strombolian activity with a few explosions on average per hour. Incandescent material is being ejected to 100 m above the crater and ash plumes rise up to 800 m.A phase of strong lava effusion on 1-2 March had produced a lava flow reaching 2 km length.

Turrialba (Costa Rica):
Small ash emissions were observed yesterday.A series of 4 small explosions occurred between 13:41 and 15:17 local time, generating plumes of up to 500 m height.It is not known at the moment, if the eruptions are phreatic, i.e. the result of exploding overheated water, or caused by fresh magma arriving at the summit.

Kliuchevskoi (Kamchatka)
The explosive-effusive eruption of the volcano probably finished. According to KVERT, volcanic tremor significant decreased yesterday and no lava or ash emissions could be seen any more at the summit crater. Moderately degassing and a thermal anomaly at the summit continue. Aviation color code was lowered from orange to yellow.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Explosions continue to occur at the volcano sporadically, although none of the previous days has been as strong as the violent eruption on 28 Feb. The most recent was an explosion yesterday morning, producing an ash plume that rose to approx. 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude, but no pyroclastic flows.  KVERT maintains aviation color code orange.

Explosion at Shiveluch yesterday morning.

San Cristobal (Nicaragua)
Two explosions occurred last Thursday afternoon, producing moderately strong ash emissions of a few hundred meters height. No damage was reported, only slight ash fall causing visibility problems on nearby roads and similar minor problems.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico)
The activity of the volcano remains at fluctuating, but overall similar levels as during the past months. An increase in tremor yesterday probably corresponded to a phase of active dome growth, accompanied by bright glow visible at the crater and intense degassing and light ash emissions reaching 1500 m height.

WATCH: Eruption at the Popocatepetl volcano.

- Volcano Discovery | Antara News.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Societal Collapse - Venezuela To Install Finger Scanners In Supermarkets To Tackle Hoarding, Panic Buying, Amid Shortages! UPDATE: U.S. Declares Venezuela A Threat - Sanctions Top Officials!

Venezuelans face extreme shortages with long line and strict quotas. In Venezuela, the new year has brought little change to the scarcity
problem that is becoming alarming: long lines across the country to buy even the most basic products.

March 9, 2015 - VENEZUELA
- Venezuela will begin installing some 20,000 fingerprint scanners at supermarkets nationwide in a bid to stamp out hoarding and panic buying, which the government blames for long lines and widespread shortages of basic goods.

The oil-rich nation has been selectively rolling out the rationing system for months at state-run supermarkets along the western border with Colombia, where smuggling of price-controlled goods is a major problem.

On Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro said that seven large private retail chains had voluntarily agreed to install the scanners.

"I ask for the the comprehension of all of Venezuela, to understand this problem, because there is a lot of manipulation taking place," Maduro said at the inauguration of a state-run supermarket.

Economists say the effort is bound to fail. They blame decade-old price controls for destroying local manufacturing and attracting smugglers who can resell the goods on the black market and in Colombia for huge gains.

In recent days, those profits have become juicier as a result of Venezuela's tanking currency. The bolivar has slid 35 percent in the past two weeks on the black market and now trades at nearly one-fortieth the official rate used to import food, according to DolarToday, a website that tracks the illegal rate based on currency trades along the border.

The fall of world oil prices by nearly half since November is also diminishing the supply of dollars available to import everything from milk to cars. Crude oil accounts for 95 percent of Venezuela's exports.

As Venezuela's economic crisis deepens the government is increasingly lashing out at its opponents and the United States, which it says is trying to sow instability and set the stage for a coup.

But many Venezuelans point to Maduro. Recent polls say the embattled president has a 22 percent approval rating, the lowest since the start of the socialist revolution 16 years ago by the late President Hugo Chavez

On Friday, a delegation of visiting South American foreign ministers announced that the region would help Venezuela address the shortages.

But many in the opposition expressed dismay that the 12-nation Unasur bloc did not take a tougher stance against the government amid what they say is an impending humanitarian crisis. - FOX News.

U.S. declares Venezuela a threat, sanctions top officials

Opposition supporters shout during a rally to commemorate International Women's Day and in support of jailed opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez
and Antonio Ledezma, in Caracas, March 8, 2015.Credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The United States on Monday declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials in the worst diplomatic dispute with the oil-rich country since socialist President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013.

President Barack Obama issued and signed the executive order, which senior administration officials said did not target the energy sector or Venezuela's broader economy. The move raises tensions between Washington and the OPEC member just as U.S. relations with Cuba, another longtime U.S. foe in Latin America, are set to be normalized.

Declaring a country a national security threat is the first step in starting a sanctions regime. The same process has been followed with countries such as Iran and Syria, U.S. officials said.

The White House said the executive order targeted people whose actions undermined democratic processes or institutions, had committed acts of violence or abuse of human rights, were involved in prohibiting or penalizing freedom of expression, or were government officials involved in public corruption.

"Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption will not be welcome here, and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of U.S. financial systems," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

"We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government's efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents. Venezuela's problems cannot be solved by criminalizing dissent," he added.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez told reporters that Caracas would respond to the U.S. move soon.

The seven individuals named in the order, which included top domestic security and intelligence officials, would have their property and interests in the United States blocked or frozen and would be denied entry into the United States. U.S. persons would also be prohibited from doing business with them.


The White House also called on Venezuela to release all political prisoners, including "dozens of students," and warned against blaming Washington for its problems.

"We've seen many times that the Venezuelan government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela," Earnest said in the statement.

"These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan government to deal with the grave situation it faces."

U.S. officials told reporters in a conference call that the executive order did not target the Venezuelan people or economy and stressed that upcoming legislative elections should be held without intimidation of the government's opponents.

The sanctions effectively confirm Venezuela as the United States' primary adversary in Latin America, a label that was for decades applied to Communist-run Cuba until Washington and Havana announced a diplomatic breakthrough in December.

Washington said last week it would respond through diplomatic channels to Venezuela's demand for a cut in the U.S. Embassy's staff in Caracas after the government called for a plan within 15 days to reduce staff to 17 from 100 at the American facility.

Commercial ties between Venezuela and the United States have, however, been largely unaffected by diplomatic flare-ups, which were common during the 14-year-rule of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

The United States is Venezuela's top trading partner, and Venezuela in 2014 remained the fourth-largest supplier of crude to the United States at an average of 733,000 barrels per day - despite a decade-long effort by Caracas to diversify its oil shipments to China and India.

Opposition leader and twice-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles told Reuters the sanctions were a problem for a corrupt elite in the Maduro government, but not ordinary Venezuelans.

"It's not a problem with Venezuela or with Venezuelans; it's a problem for the corrupt ones. It doesn't affect we Venezuelans." - Reuters.

SOLAR WATCH: Emerging Sunspot 2297 Unleashes M4.5 Solar Flare - CME Unlikely!

March 9, 2015 - SPACE
- Another solar flare detected around region 2297. The latest event was a moderate M4.5 solar flare peaking at 14:33 UTC Monday morning.

Due to the rapid nature of this event, a noteworthy coronal mass ejection (CME) is unlikely. 

The M9-class solar flare of March 7th, described below, did produce a CME: movie.

However, NOAA analysts say the expanding cloud will miss Earth. No geomagnetic storms are expected as a result of the explosion.

WATCH: M4.5 Solar Flare - March 9, 2015.

- Space Weather | Solar Ham.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Small Plane Crash Near Dayton High School, Nevada - Pilot And Passenger Suffer Minor Injuries!

- Two people suffered minor injuries when their small aircraft crashed Sunday afternoon near Dayton High School.

According to Lyon County Sheriff's Office, at approximately 4:10 p.m., rescue units from the Central Lyon County Fire District, along with the Lyon County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported airplane crash on Bureau of Land Management land near Dayton High School.

The pilot and a passenger were transported by ambulance to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with minor injuries.

Firefighters from the Central Lyon County Fire Protection District look at a small plane that crashed Sunday afternoon near Dayton High School.
(Photo: Submitted photo)

According to the sheriff's office, the airplane plan was based from a private Dayton area airport and was returning to the airport when it reportedly lost power over the Mound House area.

The pilot glided the aircraft to an attempted emergency landing in the remote field when it overturned after landing. - RGJ.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Amtrak Train Crashes Into Truck In Halifax, North Carolina - Low-Boy Trailer Obliterated; No Injuries!

March 9, 2015 - NORTH CAROLINA
- An Amtrak train collided with a tractor-trailer truck on the tracks at NC-903 and US-301 in Halifax Monday.

Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed the train's engine on its side and the luggage car off at an angle to the tracks.

WATCH: Amtrak train derails in N. Carolina after truck collision.

A passenger car behind the luggage car also derailed, but remained upright.

Halifax County officials said there were injuries.

The cab of the truck was intact, but the low-boy trailer carrying some kind of large load covered in a large blue tarp was obliterated by the force of the impact.

An ABC11 Eyewitness viewer posted video of the impact on Twitter.

The train - the #80 Carolinian - was headed north from Raleigh with an eventual destination of New York with stops in major cities like Philadelphia.

Unhurt passengers were being loaded onto waiting buses. - ABC11.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Run, Star, Run - Fastest Star Known Breaks Free From Our Galaxy's Bonds; Scientists Baffled; "Common Explanations For Other Previous Hypervelocity Stars Do Not Apply"?! [VIDEO]

An artist impression of the mass-transfer phase followed by a double-detonation supernova that leads to the ejection of US 708.
(ESA / Hubble, NASA, S. Geier)

March 9, 2015 - SPACE
- A hypervelocity star traveling at a speed of 1,200 kilometers per second is heading away from the Milky Way galaxy, boosted by its sibling star’s death as a massive supernova.

The star, known as US 708, was first discovered in 2005 and is supposed to be the remnant of a red giant. Now, scientists at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, have measured its full 3D speed, relative to the center of the galaxy, with the help of the data of the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii – and it turns out to be breathtaking: 1,200 kilometers a second or 2.7 million miles per hour, W. M. Keck Observatory reported on Thursday.

“At that speed, you could travel from Earth to the moon in five minutes,”
one astronomer at the University of Hawaii Eugene Magnier said in a press-release.

The scientists also found out that the star was spinning quickly, at over 100 kilometers per second, which means that in the past it has received an energetic boost. What is also odd about the star is that it has lost its hydrogen, so common explanations suitable for any other previously discovered hypervelocity stars, do not apply.

Hypervelocity stars are those traveling fast enough to escape the gravitational pull of its galaxy.

Usually, the stars that are going fast enough to escape the gravitational grasp of our galaxy resemble the sun and are slower than US 708. They are thought to have once had pairs. However, when one star is sucked in by the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, the other one gets released from the grip of the whole galaxy.

WATCH: Double-detonation supernova leads to the ejection of US 708 from the galaxy.

However, astronomers believe that US 708 was in a very close relationship with another star – so close, in fact, that even a black hole couldn't tear them apart. The current theory suggests that the star’s pair was a white dwarf that might have stolen all its hydrogen, passed on to the partner’s helium core – until the fatal destabilization that caused ignition, turning it into a massive supernova.

“The only way to get rid of the companion is a thermonuclear supernova,”
Stephan Geier of the European Southern Observatory said, adding that the star was propelled by the breaking of the pair – but not by the explosion. “It’s not a shockwave, it's the mere fact that this star is unleashed from this very tight binary.”

Now, astronomers, who have published their findings in the Friday issue of journal Science, hope to find more stars like US 708 to study supernovas of this type. They are called “standard candles”, and help measure distances in the universe.

“If we can really prove this scenario, then we have a means to study those explosions in a new and very interesting way,”
said Geier. - RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash In Attala County, Mississippi - Pilot And Passenger Killed!

Two people are dead Sunday after their plane crashed in Attala County(Photo: Video still)

- Two people are dead Sunday after their plane crashed in Attala County.

Federal Aviation spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in an email to The Associated Press that the single-engine Bellanca aircraft crashed on County Road 1103 near Kosciusko, Mississippi, northeast of Jackson, at about 5 p.m.

A Bellanca Super Viking.

According to WAPT News, police on the scene said that the pilot and his passenger were both killed.

Bergen said the FAA is investigating the crash and that the National Transportation Safety Board will determine what caused it.

WATCH: 2 killed in Attala County plane crash.

- The Clarion-Ledger.

OMEN, SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS & INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Upcoming "SUPERMOON" Eclipse Will Dazzle Britain - But Will Hit Europe's Power Grids Hard, Could Create The Biggest Blackout Since 1999!

The moment of totality during the solar eclipse (Reuters / Howard Burditt)

March 9, 2015 - EUROPE
- This spring should reward plenty of star-gazers, especially in Britain, which will experience its deepest solar eclipse in 15 years, as well as a Supermoon, all at the same time – an event that will sink the island into twilight for two whole hours.

The Supermoon eclipse, as the phenomenon is known, is an astronomical alignment where the Moon is sent on a trajectory between the Sun and the Earth, depriving us of light. The event will occur on March 20 at around 8:40GMT.

Scotland will have it best though, with a whopping 98 percent of the sky darkened, compared to about 85 percent for the south of England. For best results the Scottish need to look up starting 9:36 am.

Other areas in Britain will only get around 30 percent.

Similar events took place in 2006, 2008 and 2011, but neither of them can touch the upcoming Supermoon eclipse, except an event that occurred in 1999.

We’ll have to wait three years for the next one in 2018. However, only 2026 will present us with a deep solar eclipse once again. As for the magnitude, it won’t be until 2090 that we get to see anything like the 1999 and upcoming March 20 events.

Whenever particularly striking displays take place, it is because the Moon is close to the Earth. According to Dr Edward Bloomer of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the March eclipse will see the Moon closer to us than it has been in more than 18 years.

“The Earth is orbiting around the Sun and sometimes is slightly closer and sometimes further away, and the Earth is also wobbling around on its axis,”
the Telegraph cites him as saying.

“Likewise the orbit of the Moon around the Earth is elliptical and slightly tilted so it’s rare for the Sun, Earth and Moon to actually line up,”
he also said. And when the Moon’s orbit is as close as possible to the Earth’s, we have a total eclipse, Bloomer explains.

That’s when the Supermoon appears, and that is what will take place in Britain in a few days, as our satellite appears to us as an enormous black, glowing orb, shortly before March 20.

Reuters / Michaela Rehle

The only thing the Brits have to worry about is weather. It can potentially ruin their viewing experience, with the possibility of clouds and rain.

But if skies are clear, another treat for everyone will be the moon itself. With such proximity and lighting conditions, a pair of binoculars will give the viewer surface details that could never be seen with the naked eye.

However, it’s not just the fun factor of such events that is attracting attention. The Brits are afraid it might cause power grid failures as well. The National Grid says around 50 percent of power will be lost throughout the morning hours later in March.

But Britain will remain relatively unscathed, compared to its European neighbors, where up to 10 percent of energy is generated sustainably, meaning they depend more on the sun. According to the UK’s energy body, only 1.5 percent of power there is generated by solar panels. And since people will be going out in droves to watch the spectacle, energy consumption should drop almost at the same time the shortages will strike, it says.

The European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity says, according to the Independent, “with the increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation, the risk of an incident could be serious without appropriate countermeasures.”

"Within 30 minutes the solar power production would decrease from 17.5 gigawatts to 6.2GW and then increase again up to 24.6GW. This means that within 30 minutes the system will have to adapt to a load change of -10GW to +15GW,"
said Patrick Graichen, executive director of the Berlin-based think-tank on renewable energy Agora Energiewende, as cited by the Financial Times.

While the world is only hearing about the Supermoon eclipse now, energy companies have been preparing for the event for months in advance, some in Europe setting up contingency measures for extracting energy from other power stations.

Experts predict that precautionary methods will only increase with time, as more solar energy becomes increasingly commonplace. - RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Small Plane Crashes In Pratt, Kansas - "Accomplished" Pilot Killed!

Authorities say a pilot is dead after his single-engine plane overturned while landing southwest of Pratt.

- A man has died after his small plane crashed in Pratt County.

The crash happened near Southeast 60th and Southeast 20 Avenues. That's just a few miles east-southeast of Pratt.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the pilot was attempting to land on a private runway when his propeller hit the dirt, causing the plane to overturn.

The 85-year-old pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers identified him as Harrison Dale Rosenbaum of Pratt. He was the only person on board.

WATCH: Man killed in plane crash near Pratt.

People in the community say this is surprising, because Rosenbaum was an accomplished pilot who's held a commercial pilots license for many years.

Neighbors say he flew just about every Saturday. This time they saw him take off and land, but didn't hear any noise from the crash.

Investigators from the NTSB are expected to arrive on scene Sunday morning. - KAKE.

PARADIGM SHIFT: BRICS Rising And Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Ultimate Collapse Of The White Supremacy Paradigm - Putin Signs Law On Ratification Of $100 BILLION BRICS New Development Bank Deal!

March 9, 2015 - RUSSIA
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying the deal establishing the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), according to a document published on Monday on Russia's official website for legal information.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) was set up to challenge two major Western-led giants – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. NDB's key role will be to serve as a pool of currency for infrastructure projects within a group of five countries with major emerging national economies - Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

According to the Russian Finance Ministry, the New Development Bank is expected to start functioning fully by the end of the year, with the headquarters slated for opening in Shanghai. The chairmanship, with a term of five years, will rotate among the members.

It's hoped the new bank will stamp the growing influence of the BRICS. The NDB is expected to become one of the world's key institutions, with a stated capital of $100 billion. Each of the five-member countries is expected to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion startup capital that will be expanded to $100 billion. Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.

The bank, which will be able to start lending in 2016, will be open to other countries that are members of the United Nations. The BRICS share is never to decline below 55 percent, however. The money will be used to finance development projects in the emerging economies.

India will serve as the first five-year rotating president, and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors will be Brazilian.

The bank was first proposed in 2012. The signing of the agreement to create the joint development bank by the heads of the five countries took place at the BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in June 2014.

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, ratified the agreement on the NDB establishment last month. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: Disaster Impact - Epic Snowfall In New England Have Meant Economic Woes Across All Industries; Massachusetts Suffers $1 BILLION In Lost Wages And Profits!

FILE - In this March 4, 2015 file photo, waiter Melvin Angel shovels snow outside the restaurant he works at in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston. Every
work day lost during New England’s historic winter has meant millions of dollars out of the regional economy. Retailers and restaurants were among the hardest
hit, but hotels, transportation companies and other tourism businesses struggled too. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

-  Ignore anyone who tells you snow is free.
Every workday lost during New England's winter has meant millions of dollars taken out of the regional economy.

IHS Global Insight, an economic analysis firm, estimates Massachusetts alone suffered roughly $1 billion in lost wages and profits, as storm after storm pummeled the region, delivering more than 8 feet of snow in roughly a month.

Retailers and restaurants were among the hardest hit, as customers held off on big purchases or chose to stay at home rather than enjoy a night on the town.

A survey released this week by Massachusetts business groups representing those and other industries reported sales dropped an average of 24 percent and payroll dropped about 7 percent among their small businesses members.

Car dealers and real estate agents complained the poorly timed storms - many of which hit on or around weekends - were disastrous to business. And with the exception of the region's ski resorts, many hotels, transportation companies and other businesses in the travel and tourism trade say they've struggled too.

"January and February are always tough months for us because people just don't want to travel," said Christopher Crean, a vice president at Peter Pan, a Springfield-based long-distance bus company. "But when you add in all the snow and cold and highway closures, that just compounds the injury. It's hard to make a profit."

Manufacturers, meanwhile, report they're just starting to catch up on nearly a month of lost productivity.

During the worst of the storms, assembly lines shut down, work orders were delayed or canceled outright and treacherous roads and iced-over rail lines hindered transport of finished products.

"Not only were we losing sales on the front end of the storms, now we're paying a lot more on the back end to get product out," said Michael Tamasi, CEO of AccuRounds, a Massachusetts maker of shafts, valves and other parts for medical, defense, aerospace and information technology companies. "We've been adding hours, stretching out the work day, working on Saturdays, whatever we need to do."

Business leaders say the storms, if anything, laid bare the shortcomings of two critical pieces of the regional economy: Greater Boston's road and transit systems.

"We still have congested streets and longer commutes and that's meaning lost productivity," said Timothy Murray, president of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. "The system has really been no match for Mother Nature."

Economists expect the ripple effects of New England's storms will be felt nationally, but it's too early to say to what extent.

Doug Handler, chief North American economist at the Massachusetts-based IHS Global Insight, says the storms likely won't have the economic punch of last year's winter, when a polar vortex exposed large swaths of the country to subzero temperatures and snow. That weather phenomenon caused widespread economic disruptions. Estimates for its overall economic impact have been pegged at anywhere from $15 billion to $50 billion.

"This is much more localized and in a region that can handle it, to a degree," Handler said, acknowledging that parts of the South and Mid-Atlantic also saw snow this week, albeit nothing on the scale of what New England has gotten this winter. "We're prepared for it in New England, whereas last year, some regions just weren't."

Indeed, U.S. employers added 295,000 jobs in February, exceeding expectations, the Labor Department reported Friday. Within that data, Handler noted the number of workers in nonagricultural jobs that were unable to work because of inclement weather was roughly on par with February's historical average.

Elsewhere, Autodata Corp reported U.S. car sales in February were up about 5.3 percent from January but still fell short of expected gains. Analysts predict lost sales should be made up as the weather warms; U.S. new car sales are still on track to hit their highest level in more than a decade.

Economists also expect many New England industries will recover most lost productivity.

The region's population centers are now largely built around hospitals, universities and the financial, health care and IT sectors - industries that are somewhat resilient to weather-related shutdowns. Many employees can work from home or simply spend more time in the office catching up. But even among those high-skill industries, there are limits to what can be done to soften the blow of bad weather.

Many drugmakers, research labs and other large health care and biotech institutions maintained 24/7 operations through the storms, taking on overtime costs or covering hotel stays and other travel expenses that likely won't be recouped, industry officials said.

"There's certain research that you just can't stop," said Peter Abair, of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, which represents more than 650 biotechnology companies and academic institutions. "To stop a project midstream is very difficult. All your expenses go out the door. You have to start from scratch." - AP.

FIRE IN THE SKY: "I Just Saw A Massive Falling Star" - Fireball Flying Over Perth, Australia Caught On Dashcams, Scientists Suspect Meteorite!

Still from YouTube video/Radio 6PR

March 9, 2015 - PERTH, AUSTRALIA
- A fireball flashing through the sky has been reported by multiple witnesses and also recorded on dashcams in Perth, Western Australia. Scientists believe the bright shiny object could turn out to be a meteorite.

Reports of the fireball as well as its dashcam images started to emerge on Monday morning.

WATCH: Fireball over Perth.

Don't know what it was but whilst on a break at work, was walking back to the workshop and saw a bright flash and an object falling through the atmosphere with a white bright lit tail,” Perth resident, Chris Ugle, posted in a Facebook group titled Australian Meteor Reports.

A resident of Gidgegannup (45km east of Perth), Angela Whife, described the fireball as round, white and having a meter-long tail. She believes the object landed on her property.

It would have been about 10 meters above the ground I suppose when I first saw it and then it landed about 20 meters away from me,” Whife told Perth Now.

The object has yet to be found though.

One of the witnesses called 720 ABC Perth's Morning program to say the fireball “vaporized in a burst over the [Canning] river."

Scientists are meanwhile studying dashcam footage of the fireball. One of those was captured by Nine News cameraman, Gerard Price.

WATCH: Meteorite caught on dashcam over northern Perth.

'It would have to have been a fairly big rock to be visible during the day,' Curtin University's Professor Robert Bland, who hosts the Fireball in the Sky website, told Radio 6PR.

Bland’s colleague, Jay Ridgewell, told AAP they were confident the fireball could be meteorite.

"Thousands of meteors fall from the sky every year, but it's not as common to see them in such a populated area," she said. - RT.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Nearly 60 Dead, Over 130 Wounded In Several Blasts In Northeast Nigeria - Boko Haram Pledges Allegiance To Islamic State Group!

March 9, 2015 - NIGERIA - More than 50 people have been killed and over 130 wounded in as many as five bombings in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. No group has yet claimed responsibility, but suspicion falls on Boko Haram as they have previously targeted the area.

“We’ve received 50 dead bodies from the blast scenes and 36 injured people,”
Salisu Kwaya Bura, Chief Medical Officer of Borno Specialists Hospital, told reporters as cited Reuters. “The state government has directed the treatment for the injured persons to be free.”

However, no exact figures for the number of people killed and injured have so far been confirmed.

According to the latest updates from police, a total of 58 people died and about 139, including many children, sustained injuries, AP reported. At the same time, other sources have put the death toll at 54 and a number of wounded at 143.

It has been also reported that there was a string of bombings across the city. Up to five explosions targeted different areas of Maiduguri, the largest city in northeastern Nigeria, one after another.

The first explosions rocked Baga fish market, located near a crowded market named "Monday Market" which has evolved into a daily market, around midday. The Baga bombing appears to have been the deadliest of the five attacks; 36 deaths were reported there.

“The bomb was devastating because it occurred in a crowded area,”
Jamuna Jarmi, a grocery seller, told the local Vanguard News.

Witnesses claimed it was carried out by a female suicide bomber who arrived in a motor rickshaw.

The terrorist attack was followed by another suicide bombing, also near the Monday Market, just an hour later. The witnesses reported a bomb exploded near Post Office shopping area causing numerous casualties.
Shortly afterwards, the Monday Market itself was also was targeted by female suicide bombers, who detonated bombs killing dozens of people around them.

According a trader, who spoke to the BBC, one of the bombers had a bomb strapped to her body, while another one was carrying a bag containing an explosive.

The fourth attack hit in the busy Borno Express bus terminal. A witness managed to count about 12 lying bodies but was unsure if they were dead or injured.

According to Danlami Ajaokuta, a vigilante leader, the security forces ordered the closure of all shops in the city, fearing more attacks could follow.

The main gate to the Monday Market is closed on March 7, 2015 after a blast in Maiduguri. (AFP Photo / Ptunji Omirin)

The latest attack took place at a checkpoint in about 80 km from Maiduguri. Three people were wounded as a bomb hidden in a car exploded.

No militant organization has taken responsibility for the attacks, but Boko Haram is primarily under suspicion as the group sees Maiduguri as its strategic goal. Another distinctive feature that points towards Boko Haram is female suicide bombers, who are widely used by its terrorists.

Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamist caliphate based on Sharia law in northern Nigeria, controls vast areas that make up a territory approximately the size of Slovakia.

The militants reportedly plan to proclaim Maiduguri their capital in case they seize the city.

The terrorist organization last tried to take the city in December 2013. They managed to seize a local air force base which led to clashes with regular troops. - RT.

Boko Haram leader pledges allegiance to Islamic State group

This screen grab image taken on February 18, 2015 from a video made available by Islamist group Boko Haram shows their leader
Abubakar Shekau making a statement at an undisclosed location (AFP Photo/)

The leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram militants, Abubakar Shekau, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group in an audio recording released Saturday.

"We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Ibrahim ibn Awad ibn Ibrahim al-Husseini al-Qurashi," said the voice on the message, which was believed to be that of Shekau and was released through Boko Haram's Twitter account.

Qurashi is better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the IS group which has proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Shekau spoke in Arabic, but the message contained French and English subtitles.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the message.

Shekau was not pictured, a contrast from most of Boko Haram's past messages in which the Islamist leader has been shown, often in close up shots.

But Shekau did identify himself in the recording, which was accompanied by the subtitles and a graphic including an image of a radio microphone.

There have in recent months been signs of closer ties between the Nigerian militants and the IS group, with both using similar ways of communicating with the outside world. Boko Haram has notably begun releasing videos that resemble those made by IS.

Boko Haram has been waging a six-year uprising against the Nigerian state, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Analysts have long debated the extent of Boko Haram's ties to other jihadist groups, but the evidence was never clear. - Yahoo.

SOLAR WATCH: Emerging Sunspot 2297 Unleashes M9.2 Solar Flare - Produces CME; Possible Glancing Blow To Earth; Moderate HF Radio Blackout Over The Pacific Ocean!

March 9, 2015 - SPACE - Emerging sunspot AR2297 has erupted again, producing its strongest flare yet: an M9-class explosion on March 7th at 22:22 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the extreme ultraviolet flash:

Radiation from the flare ionized the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere on the dayside of the planet.

This caused a moderate HF radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean. Mariners and hams operating at frequencies below 10 MHz woud likely have noticed disturbed and/or attenuated signals in the red zone of this NOAA blackout map:

There's more to this explosion than a solar flare. SOHO coronagraphs show a CME emerging from the blast site, as well: image. The cloud of plasma will probably miss Earth, but a glancing blow cannot yet be ruled out based on the limited data at hand.
ALERT: Type IV Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2015 Mar 07 2204 UTC
Description: Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the sun and are typically associated with strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission

Begin Time: 2015 Mar 07 2157 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 704 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.
More flares are in the offing. The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2297 has been exploding at least once a day for the past three days, and there is no reason to expect a cessation.

WATCH: Major M9.2 Solar Flare & CME - March 7, 2015.


Solar activity declined to low levels on Sunday. Region 2297, the source of a near X-Flare on Saturday, was fairly stable with only minor C-Flares detected. The active region will continue to be a threat for another isolated M-Class event as it turns into a more geoeffective position.

Periods of minor geomagnetic activity at high latitudes will be possible during the next few days as an elevated solar wind streams past our planet. Aurora watchers should be alert during the next day or so.

Coronal Holes

Credit: SDO/AIA.

Earth is inside a solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole.

Chance of Storms

NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% to 45% chance of geomagnetic storms this weekend as a high-speed solar wind stream buffets Earth's magnetic field. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for auroras on March 8-9.


Above is a nice image from over the weekend courtesy of Joni Alavesa in Keminmaa, Lapland, Finland. Thanks for sharing!

- Space Weather | Solar Ham | Solar Watcher.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Acre River In Brazil Reaches Record Levels In Rio Branco - Flood Waters Reach 18.4 METRES High; The Worst Flooding In 132 YEARS; One Community Nearly Wiped Out; 90,000 People Affected, Over 10,000 In Shelters!

Floods in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Photo: Sérgio Vale/ Secom (03/03/2015)

March 9, 2015 - BRAZIL
- Floods have been affecting thousands of people in the state of Acre, northern Brazil, since 23 February 2015, when some of the state’s rivers, in particular the River Acre, overflowed.

Further heavy rainfall has forced river levels higher still, and on 03 March 2015 Brazil’s federal government declared a state of emergency in Acre.

One of the worst affected areas is the state capital, Rio Branco. By early evening (local time) yesterday 04 March 2015, levels of the River Acre reached a record 18.40 metres. Flood stage is thought to be 14 metres. Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM) were expecting levels to rise further still over the next 12 hours.

The current flood situation has been described as the worst in 132 years. The government of Acre has said that, although exact numbers are difficult to verify, almost 90,000 people have been affected by the floods in the state since they first began in late February.

WATCH: Record-breaing flooding displaces thousands in western Brazil.

53 neighborhoods in the city have been affected by the floods. At least 30 rural communities across the state have also been flooded. One person has died after she was electrocuted entering her flooded home in Rio Branco.

Currently there are 9,251 people staying in one of the 26 shelters in Rio Branco set up for those displaced by the floods. There are around over 4,000 people thought to have evacuated their homes to stay with relatives or friends.

Levels of the Iaco River, also in Acre state, are extremely high and have flooded areas nearby, including Sena Madureira, where over 350 people have been displaced and are staying in temporary camps.

The River Acre runs forms parts of the border between Brazil and Bolivia. In late February the river caused flooding in Bolivia’s Pando department. at the time, the mayor of San Pedro de Bolpebra, a small town on the banks of the River Acre, said that his community had been almost completely swept away by flood waters.

“The river waters rose to 14m [46ft] above their normal level, so between the community and the authorities we have decided to rebuild a new town to avoid more damage” he said.

UPDATE: 10,000 Remain in Shelters in Rio Branco, Acre State

Levels of the river acre in Rio Branco in Brazil have started to show some signs of falling. As of 17:00 local time, 05 March 2015, the river stood at 18.22 metres, dropping from 18.40 metres the day before.

But for local authorities – city and state government, and state civil defense – the work continues to house and feed the 10,449 displaced by the floods.

Around 26 shelters have been set up to house the flood victims. Working with the authorities are at least 2,000 volunteers. Between them they manage to serve around 29,500 meals each day.

Setting up shelters for 10,000 flood victims in Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil. Photo: Diego Gurgel / Secom

Flood victims arriving at shelters in Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil. Photo: Diego Gurgel / Secom

Photo: Gleilson Miranda/Secom

Flooded streets of Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil, March 2015. Photo: Gleilson Miranda/Secom

Work is being carried out to aid flood victims who still remain in their homes. As many as 550 personnel are working to help remove families from flooded areas. 250 vehicles and 110 boats have been mobilized to help operations.

Although levels of the acre river are falling slowly, as many as 900 streets across 53 districts (bairros) in Rio Branco are under water. The floods may well take some time to recede.

City mayor, Marcus Alexander, has said team will continue working until the flood waters have receded. He said:
“We have to keep mobilized, providing assistance to families who were affected by the waters of the river Acre, both which are in public and community shelters, as well as those who remained in their homes…we are making every effort.”
The city’s government estimate that the floods have caused R$30 million ($10 million) in losses and damage. Several bridges in the city have been damaged.

Some media reports say that at least 2 people have died in the flooding. Both were electrocuted whilst returning to flooded buildings.

Floods in Acre State

Other areas of Acre state, outside the capital Rio Branco, have been affected by the floods.

In Porto Acre, located around 60 kilometers from the capital, floods from the overflowing river Acre have displaced at least 30 families. A state of emergency has been declared by the local government there.

In Sena Madureira, the Iaco River overflowed last week, forcing 96 families from their homes. Levels of the river have since started to fall slightly.

The level of the Madeira River in Abunã region, however, has risen slightly to 21.86 meters, according to the government of Acre state. - Floodlist.